Along with more discussion about how holiday marketing campaigns impact search activity, Swapalease.com released its quarterly lease trends report examining data from the fourth quarter of 2017.
To go with brand trends, site analysts also determined the No. 1 reason why consumers want to change their vehicle lease situation remained the same as each of the past two years closed. As dealerships and finance companies might imagine, consumers told Swapalease that an income change triggered their site usage.
The amount of consumers citing income change stood at 37.0 percent in Q4, according to the report. That’s down from 40.4 percent a year earlier.
However, income changes still topped the other reasons noted in the report, including vehicle type change (35.5 percent), brand change (26.0 percent), no longer driving the vehicle (16.2 percent), location change (14.0 percent) and change in family size (8.7 percent).
As Swapalease mentioned, changes in brand or segment preferences often triggers a lease holder to want a different vehicle.
When they decide to start the process, analysts found that search traffic for today’s brands remained fairly stable and consistent with that of Q4 2016 metrics for most brands,
Luxury brands such as Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Infiniti each generated increases to close out the year while RAM saw a significant spike of more than 290 percent from Q4 of 2016.
Along with that whopping jump for RAM that came versus a low comparison, the report highlighted notable quarterly site traffic increases for several brands, including:
— Toyota: up 29 percent
— Mercedes Benz: up 18 percent
— BMW: up 13 percent
— Infiniti: up 13 percent
GMC, Subaru and Cadillac saw the smallest growth in search traffic, with 5 percent, 4 percent and 3 percent, respectively.
Meanwhile, a half dozen brands watched their Q4 search traffic drop by at least 10 percent. The report noted:
— Chrysler: down 10 percent
— Nissan: down 10 percent
— Honda: down 13 percent
— Acura: down 18 percent
— Buick: down 19 percent
— Hyundai: down 32 percent
In comparison to Q3, most brands saw similar overall search traffic share on the site.
BMW holds the top spot as the brand with the largest overall traffic on Swapalease.com at 12 percent, followed by Mercedes-Benz collecting 8 percent of the total search traffic during the quarter.
Even though RAM saw the largest jump in search traffic during the quarter, it still only represents 1 percent of the overall traffic on Swapalease.com.
Turning back to the financial component, the report indicated the average monthly payment on a lease stood at $485.47 in Q4; a slight increase from the Q3 reading of $484.79.
Mercedes-Benz is currently the most expensive brand to lease through this website with an average monthly payment of $784.
Conversely, Volkswagen is the most inexpensive brand to lease with an average monthly payment of $324, followed by Buick at $335, and Honda at $338.
“It’s no surprise that leasing remains healthy and viable as a sales alternative for dealers and consumers,” said Scot Hall, executive vice president of Swapalease.
“It was a little surprising to see a few more people interested in changing to another brand, and interested in changing their vehicle type, which might be a reflection of the confidence the economy continues to instill in consumers,” Hall continued.
The entire Q4 lease report .
Hall also discussed how leasing is tied interest rates set by the Federal Reserve during a recent episode of the AuSM Podcast. The conversation can be heard below.